Karen Atkins is the owner of Proper Gardens in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She designed the Victorian Gardens for the Merrick Art Gallery, the Pioneer Entrance Garden for Pittsburgh Botanic Garden, and many award-winning gardens for residential clients. Karen loves to help and hear from other gardeners.

Recent Blog Posts

Sep 16
Pumpkin Flower Vases  

Jul 26
Lavender Confections  

Jul 12
Michigan Strawberries are in!  

Jun 03
Dahlias are on sale!  

May 13
Plant Virginia Creeper Now  

Apr 16
Thank you Leslie Library!  

Mar 31
Cultivating Friends  

Mar 18
Time to Order Chicks   (2 comments)




Cultivating Friends
by Karen Atkins - posted 03/31/14

My favorite part of my new location is our neighbor Dan.  He is fascinating, because there is nothing he can't do. I plan to get plenty of advice from him (and pictures) when he starts vegetable gardening and canning this year. For now, we are enjoying the cans he put up last year. Sweet pickles, savory pickles, tomatoes, and the best strawberry jam I've even seen or tasted. Zoe and David went through a loaf of bread in two days, just so they had toast for slathering. Then they bought vanilla ice cream for it, the gluttons. I had a little swagger, last fall, when I made my own sauerkraut and gave Dan some. We bantered about freezing versus canning it. Then just when I was feeling like, with a little work,  I could be in Dan's league - I asked him where he got his cabbage. I was thinking I could impart some recently gained wisdom about the prices at our local Meijer compared to the Farmers' Market. He looked confused, thinking. Then he slayed me, "I grew it." 



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